Alistair Strathern, the recently elected Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire, will stand for Hitchin at the general election.

Mr Strathern lives in Shefford, which is currently part of Mid Beds but will become part of the new Hitchin constituency after boundary changes come into effect.

The boundary changes meant that Mr Strathern, as the sitting MP, could choose to stand for either Mid Bedfordshire or Hitchin.

He won a historic victory in the Mid Beds by-election last October, overturning a Conservative majority of 24,664 to become the first Labour MP in the constituency's 105-year history. The by-election had been called after Nadine Dorries resigned as the MP for the area.

Mr Strathern said that it had been a "really tough decision" for him, and continued: "The boundary review means that continuing to stand to represent all of this community [in Mid Beds] is impossible.

"And, while Rishi Sunak may be dragging out uncertainty as to when the general election is going to be, I want to be open and transparent with you about where I'll be standing when it comes.

"Shefford is my home. It's where me and Megan [his partner] live, and we've seen a thing or two here in Bedfordshire about what can happen when MPs become detached from their homes.

"I'm so excited to get campaigning right across Hitchin and the villages, to show you the difference a hard working Labour MP and candidate can make.

"Our towns and villages are crying out for change, and I really hope over the coming weeks and months I can earn your trust to deliver exactly that.

He added that he will be "continuing to work hard across all of the towns and villages I currently represent".

If Mr Strathern is to remain an MP after the general election, however, he will have to overturn another Conservative majority.

Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden since 2017, has decided to stand for the Hitchin seat rather than for Harpenden and Berkhamsted after his constituency was split up in the boundary changes.

A YouGov poll released last week predicted that Labour would come second in both Mid Beds and Hitchin if an election were called today. In Hitchin, it predicted that the Conservatives would receive 32 per cent of the vote, against 27 per cent for Labour and 25 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats came second in Hitchin and Harpenden at the 2019 general election, winning 35.4 per cent of the vote compared to 47.1 per cent for the Conservatives. They will be represented in Hitchin this time by Chris Lucas, currently a councillor for Hitchin Priory ward.

Both Labour and the Lib Dems are expected to make the argument that they are the party best placed to dislodge Mr Afolami at the upcoming general election, which must be held no later than January 2025.

In his announcement video, Mr Strathern said: "The choice for Hitchin will be just like the one we faced here in Mid Bedfordshire - Labour or the Conservatives.

"All the independent experts agree, those are the only two parties that can win."

Cllr Lucas, the Lib Dem candidate, has previously said that he will "fight tooth and nail" to win Hitchin for his party.

MRP polling by Survation for Lodestone Communications shows Labour three points behind the Conservatives, but eight points ahead when respondents are asked who they would vote for if they believed only the Conservatives and Labour had a chance of winning the seat.

The poll did not ask who respondents would vote for if they believed only the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had a chance of winning in Hitchin.